ROCKPORT — Voters in Rockport approved a ban on polystyrene containers at a vote of 1,604 to 470.
The ordinance prohibits the distribution and use of disposal expanded polystyrene cups, plates, bowls, coolers and food containers and to require the use of food containers made of other material associated with take-out food. Expanded polystyrene is more commonly known as Styrofoam.
The ordinance does not extend to raw meat, chicken and fish containers.
It does not prohibit citizens from using such containers that they already own, and customers will not be in violation if they take their own containers of any type to use in carrying food away from a retail vendor.
If approved, the ordinance will go into effect Jan. 1, 2019, and the for the first six months, vendors will receive verbal warnings if they violate it. After six months, there will be written violation notices and vendors will be subject to the financial penalties, such as $250 per violation, “in the aggregate not to exceed $1,500 in a one-year period.”
The question comes before Rockport courtesy of Camden Hills Regional High School student Fran Woodworth, who researched the environmental effects of styrofoam, specifically in Rockport, and took her results to the Conservation Commission, after which they offered here an endorsement that she used to back her presentation to the Select Board.
Question four on the municipal warrant reads:
“Shall an Ordinance entitled ‘Polystyrene take-out find containers’ be enacted?”